The Orioles Fantasy Jewel of the Machado Trade | Rays Nathan Eovaldi Leads Trade Targets
Dynasty League Prospect Outlooks and Second Half Trade Targets
With both the Major League Baseball trade deadline and Fantasy deadlines approaching as well as the Futures Game being played this past weekend, now seems the perfect time to take a look at some minor league prospects and their potential Dynasty League impacts.
We have seen a few prospects have an impact this season. Willie Calhoun, Kyle Tucker, Willy Adames and Ronald Acuna Jr. have taken Fantasy player’s imaginations by storm. I am fairly sure nobody saw Christian Villanueva of the San Diego Padres leading rookies in home runs at the All-Star break or Daniel Palka of the Chicago White Sox hitting 12 home runs in 65 games. Juan Soto flew up the prospect rankings in the offseason, but for him to be batting in the middle of the playoff contending Washington Nationals as a 19-year old phenom, at .301 with a .411 OBP and nine home runs has to be considered a surprise. Analysts saw this potential coming, possibly in 2019 or 2020, but not this soon.
The Futures Game was a fantastic day of youthful, star-studded baseball and now is a good time to diagnose a few of the participants’ Fantasy values.
Yusniel Diaz, OF Baltimore Orioles
2018 Stats: 59 Games Player - Six HRs - Eight SBs - Eight Caught Stealings - .314 Batting Average - .428 On-Base Percentage
As the Futures Game MVP with two home runs that traveled over 400 feet and now the headliner of the Manny Machado trade, it will be hard to find an owner unaware of Diaz.
While his raw physical abilities are above average and could result in a five-tool Fantasy star, it’s Diaz’s approach and ability to make consistent contact that’s most exciting. Entering 2018 he was considered a 15-20 home run right fielder with 10-15 stolen base speed. He has hit for average and got on base at impressive rates at every level and that is where his above average power could exceed his pre-2018 projections.
Diaz will need to exceed analyst’s projections to become a Fantasy star. The high amount of caught stealings suggests he won’t get there in that category, but his ability to make consistent, hard contact suggests to me that his hit tool will generate more home runs than his raw power would otherwise project. The recent developments will increase his price tag, but he could be in the Major Leagues after the 2019 All-Star game.
Taylor Trammell, OF Cincinnati Reds
2018 Stats: 80 GP - Six HRs - 16 SBs - .294 BA - .390 OBP
Trammell is an elite athlete that is developing his baseball skills with experience. Entering the 2016 draft, there were questions about his ability to make consistent contact and there is swing-and-miss in his current profile, but he has shown improvements while facing tougher competition.
Trammell’s speed is currently his most impactful tool, but his power is showing the most potential to exceed current expectations. As he matures physically he is likely to lose some of his speed while increasing his power. He profiles a potential ceiling of 40 stolen bases and 10-15 home runs, but with the development of his body and skills, I expect him to transform into a 25-30 home run slugger and 25-30 stolen base threat.
Trammell has developed well so far. The next test should come in 2019 at Double-A. He announced his presence to the Fantasy world at the Futures game, but 2019 should be his breakout season statistically.
Seuly Matias, OF Kansas City Royals
2018 Stats: 74 GP - 26 HRs - 109 Strikeouts - Five SBs - .213 BA - .293 OBP
Matias combines plus bat speed and plus-plus raw power to be one of the premier sluggers in Minor League Baseball, as shown by his South Atlantic league-leading 26 home runs in 74 games played.
From a Fantasy perspective, he needs to cut down on the strikeouts and elevate his batting average to at least an acceptable level. Matias will steal a handful of bases per season, but they don’t profile to be a meaningful part of his Fantasy value. His immense power makes for a high ceiling while his low batting average and limited stolen base contributions create a low floor for this very talented prospect. He could be playing alongside fellow prospect Khalil Lee in the Royals outfield by 21 years of age, another very talented outfield prospect in their system.
Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics
2018 Stats: 78.1 IP - 99 Ks - 2.30 ERA - .96 WHIP
Luzardo has a plus breaking ball and a fastball that can click 95+ from a 6”1’ frame and the left-handed side. At 20 years of age, with velocity and plus secondary offerings and above-average command, combined with the kind of success he is having at Double-A already, Luzardo is showing a level of dominance that profiles as a number two starter. He has a chance to become a number one if his “stuff” spikes a half grade.
Luzardo and New York Yankees outfield prospect Estevan Florial were my two off-season targets and Luzardo is doing everything he needs to prove me right. The “stuff” is there and the results are confirming it. He is having one of the most successful developmental years of any prospect in Minor League Baseball.
If Luzardo can maintain this level of success in the second half he has a chance to be a Top 10 prospect and one of the top two or three pitching prospects in baseball entering 2019. He has the raw “stuff” to be better than Sean Manaea and potentially rival fellow A’s lefty A.J. Puk.
With the Futures Game and prospects on my mind and the trade of Manny Machado in the headlines, I can’t help but throw out more trade targets and undervalued Fantasy players. Here are a few I am intrigued by and why.
Nathan Eovaldi, SP Tampa Bay Rays
2018 Season: 51 Innings Pitched - 45 Ks - Eight BBs - 4.59 ERA - .98 WHIP
Eovaldi has had some up and down games from an ERA perspective, but he has an electric arm and has only allowed eight walks in 51 innings pitched. There isn’t a track record to compare his small 2018 sample size against, but with a WHIP that suggests he has pitched astronomically better than his bloated ERA implies, and the potential to be pitching for a contender this time next week, he is an intriguing trade deadline target.
Jose Berrios, SP Minnesota Twins
2018 Stats: 127.1 IP - 127 Ks - 3.68 ERA - 1.01 WHIP
Berrios had two of his worst starts of the season in his last four, but he has pitched like a reliable back-end, must-start Fantasy option this year. There isn’t a lot of sizzle surrounding his name, which makes him a perfect target for a late season surge. If a strikeout per inning and WHIP just over 1.00 doesn’t sell it for you, he pitches in possibly the worst division in the history of baseball. He could win 10 games in August and September alone.
Kenta Maeda, SP Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 Stats: 86.2 IP - 108 Ks - 32 BBs - 3.12 ERA - 1.22 WHIP
Maeda walks too many batters, but did anyone notice that he has 108 strikeouts in only 86.2 innings pitched?? I noticed he pitches for a potential playoff team that has acquired Manny Machado to make a second half push. He is another pitcher lacking the sizzle that 108 sexy strikeouts in 86.2 innings pitched should bring. You don’t need beer goggles to see that Fantasy owners have a value on their hands in Maeda.
Jon Lester, SP Chicago Cubs
2018 Stats: 111.2 IP - 88 Ks - 12 Wins - 2.58 ERA - 1.19 WHIP
Lester’s dominance is fading, as shown by his below average strikeout totals, but he is still an above average contributor in ratios and he already has 12 wins. The Cubs are going to win games and Lester is going to be starting more than most of their other starters when they do. And his ratios are well above average. He is past his prime, but he is a value because too many owners have already put him out to pasture. Take advantage of the ageists in your Fantasy league and steal Lester from them on your way to a title.
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